Unearth all sorts of history and information about the district with a visit to the Cloncurry Unearthed Visitor Information Centre and Museum located at Mary Kathleen Park. The centre can provide tourist information, fossickers’ licences, maps, souvenirs and light refreshments. One of the museum’s star exhibits is Robert O’Hara Burke’s water bottle, seen in the Explorers’ Section and dating back to 1861 when he passed through on the ill-fated Burke and Wills trip to the Gulf of Carpentaria. Another section shows Aboriginal memorabilia. Browse around the rock and mineral display, considered to be one of the most comprehensive collections in Australia. Another display features Mary Kathleen, the former uranium mine in the district.
Outside, see the restored old rail ambulance, traction engine, farm machinery and mining equipment. The complex is open from 8.30am to 4.30pm weekdays, on weekends and public holidays from May to October open from 9.00am to 4.30pm and from November to April open from 9.00am to 2.00pm.
In 1861, Burke and Wills were the first Europeans to set foot on this land. A scant six years later, Ernest Henry discovered copper and became the founder of the town and the area’s vast mineral wealth. The town was surveyed in 1876 and was called Cloncurry after the Cloncurry River, which Burke had named. Grazing brought Ernest Henry to the area but it was his mineral discovery that kept him here. Even today the rural town derives its main income from the mining and pastoral industries.
The old Chinese Cemetery is a reminder of the many Chinese who worked here during the early gold mining years while the Afghan Cemetery, in a corner of the Cloncurry Cemetery, holds the graves of many camel train drivers.
John Flynn Place Museum and Art Gallery commemorates the inspiring work of John Flynn and the early years of the Royal Flying Doctor Service. The museum also celebrates the contributions of Fred McKay, Alfred Traeger and Allan Vickers.
The museum’s display moves progressively from an image of outback conditions at the turn of the 20th century to the history of Flynn himself, including personal memorabilia. It also shows how outback Australia acquired a voice through the exciting invention of the pedal radio.
The Cloncurry Community Precinct incorporates the Art Deco era Shire Hall with a modern art gallery, library, community open space area and function centre. Go in and look at the interactive Cloncurry Historical Society section of the library, view the latest art exhibition and sit in the open space to simply enjoy the atmosphere.
For bushwalking or other recreational fun, head out to Chinaman Creek Dam just 3km from town at the base of Mt Leviathan. Picnic tables are provided and the dam has a concrete ramp for those who want to do some boating, This is a good spot to watch the sunset.
Cloncurry offers a range of attractions. Here’s a list to get you started!
• Visit John Flynn Place Museum and Art Gallery and explore the beginnings of the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
• Explore one of Australia’s biggest gem and mineral collections at Cloncurry Unearthed
• Relax at Chinaman Creek Dam - perfect for water-skiing and fishing.
• Explore the parklands and outdoor machinery display at Mary Kathleen Park.
• Satisfy your tastebuds with a famous Cloncurry pie from the Cloncurry Bakery.
• Explore the mining history of the district at the Mary Kathleen Mine and Ballara.
• Uncover the beauty of Fountain Springs, a permanent waterhole in the split of the Fountain Range.
• Visit the airport and see the original Qantas hangar used in the first flight from Longreach to Cloncurry in 1922.
• See heritage buildings including Mitre 10, Post Office and the Cloncurry Courthouse.
Cloncurry/Mary Kathleen Park Museum and Visitor Information Centre
Phone (within Australia) 07 4742 1361